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Status of LGBT Parental Rights

Status of LGBT Parental Rights

As many more states continue to recognize marriage equality and same-sex marriage, it has become a hot topic across America leading many people to ask – what is the status of LGBT parental rights? There are gay and lesbian parents who were previously in heterosexual marriages but have divorced and are now having a very difficult time securing legal protections that permit them to maintain relationships with their children. Although marriage equality is now recognized in 16 states in America, the laws that govern the right to legally marry are different from the laws that govern parental rights. Therefore, even if a state recognizes marriage equality same-sex parents may not be receiving the same family protections as heterosexual parents. For instance, many states still do not allow LGBT, or more specifically transgender people, from adopting a child. Therefore, if a transgender person engages in a relationship with an individual who has children from a previous relationship, in most states, the transgender person will not be able to adopt the children – even if that person is legally permitted to marry his or her significant other. For transgender individuals this harsh fact prohibits them from realizing the family lifestyle that they so desire. In another example, many transgender men and women are finding that many state laws are creating significant impediments for them to gain visitation rights over their biological children because their status as parents, upon becoming transgender, is compromised by the laws of many states. This, compounds with the fact that many others in society and within their own families may choose to make it difficult for the transgender person to see his or her child, solely based upon the fact that the family disagrees with their choice to change their gender. Over time, the laws across the states will evolve and adapt to social change, this is evident in the fact that more and more states are beginning to recognize marriage equality at an ever-increasing velocity. The statue and protections of transgender parents will most likely follow this trend. If you are an LGBT individual and you anticipate that you will become involved in a child custody and/or parenting time dispute it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced family law attorney before moving forward. For more information about child custody, divorce, parenting time, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com and NJCivilUnionLaw.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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